5 Automatic Car Wash Tips

January 27, 2012

Ever since the invention of the automatic car wash, it has been a popular establishment. With today's fast-paced society, the automatic car wash is all but a necessity. Many people simply don't have the time to wash their cars by hand, and driving through an express car wash is the only way they can get their cars cleaned. However, washing your own car by hand is, unfortunately, the best way to make sure it stays in top condition for as long as possible. In this article, we list six tips that will help you get the care of a manual car wash from an automatic one.

  • After the actual wash, your typical auto car wash will use a machine to blow excess water off of the car. Some car washes will then have a group of attendants manually wipe down the car. This is what you need to watch for: a good car wash will make sure that their attendants always have clean towels for this stage. If you notice that the attendants are using dirty or used towels to dry cars, simply refuse the offer and skip this stage. Dirt and grit trapped in a dirty towel will leave scratches on your car's paint job. Any water left over after the wash will be air-dried on the drive home anyway, so not having your car wiped down after a wash won't do it any harm.
  • Some car washes offer extra services that aren't strictly necessary, and skipping them can save you a substantial amount of money. One example is undercarriage rustproofing. Rustproofing is something that is usually done to the metal of most new cars well before they leave the factory. Additional rustproofing is redundant and unnecessary.
  • Another unnecessary option that some car washes offer is to have your tires sprayed with a protectant like Armor All, and this usually comes at a considerable fee. A far cheaper, and only slightly less convenient option, is to buy your own protectant and apply it yourself.
  • An undercarriage bath is something you should take advantage of on a regular basis. This involves powerful jets of water that are sprayed on the car's undercarriage from below to clean it of caked mud and dirt. This should be done regularly, as dirt tends to build up over time and can block the undercarriage drainage holes. Unchecked mud and dirt buildup can also accelerate the formation of rust in the undercarriage. It's possible to perform an undercarriage bath by yourself with a regular hose, but it can be difficult, if not impossible, to do a thorough job this way.
  • One more useful option that some car washes offer is a wheel and tire cleaning. Brake dust, which is made up of the residue from brake pad adhesive, can build up and stick to, stain or (lightly) damage your wheels, and it can be difficult to clean off with over-the-counter cleaning agents. The car wash, on the other hand, will use heavy-duty cleaning agents on your wheels for precisely this reason.

While nothing can replace the value of a good manual car wash, an automatic car wash is still a good option. These tips will help you get the most out of what auto car wash companies offer, and can potentially give you the best of both worlds.

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